People are newly hungry for accountability in how tax dollars are spent, so it wasn’t surprising that the Kansas House voted 99-26 today to authorize random drug testing of the 14,000 low-income Kansans receiving cash assistance from the state. As Rep. Brenda Landwehr, R-Wichita, argued when the bill passed out of her committee last week, legislators have a “fiduciary duty to taxpayers” to ensure that tax dollars aren’t paying for a drug habit. The $800,000 for the testing has yet to be approved, and there’s some question about whether such testing is constitutional (Congress has authorized it, but a federal court nixed Michigan’s testing in 2003). If the program is approved by the Senate and funded, will it save more money than it spends? Last year Kansans learned that complying with a federal requirement that Medicaid recipients prove their U.S. citizenship cost the state $1 million as it turned up exactly one illegal immigrant.
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